Friday, March 31, 2006

Breaking News

I'm a finalist!

I just found out my contemporary paranormal, Out Of The Ashes, finaled in the Winter Rose!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Dreams Of What's To Come

It's official. The dreams have begun. What dreams you ask? Dreams about Date With The Devil. This is what happens when I write - my characters fill my head so much that they show up in my dreams. Well, let me be honest. My hero shows up in my dreams. My heroine not so much. :o)

Calderon, as my hero is currently known, was rather poorly behaved in my dream. But I guess you can only expect a certain amount of civility from a werewolf. *wink*

Do you dream about your books? What do you dream? Just the hero? Or does the heroine show up too?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Reading Writer

I have always been a reader. Always. I don't actually have a memory of not being able to read. My mother was a grade school teacher before my brother and I were born so we were taught that skill earlier on.

In kindergarten, I won an award for reading the most books of any of the students for the school year. (125 books, I believe.) My mother says I ran to the stage to collect my blue ribbon.

I wrote my first book in kindergarten, too. About the adventures of a pinecone. That book still exists somewhere. I'm sure my mom has it tucked away, along with the second book I wrote about my cat, Mystery. That would have been a best-seller, I assure you - any book written on loose-leaf notebook paper and bound with orange yarn is destined to zoom up the charts.

The gift of storytelling came from my grandmother. A petite, quiet German woman with a knack for crazy sayings (you're the boss of the chicken coop, tell it to the preacher, let an electrician check your shorts) and the uncanny ability to imitate Donald Duck, she would send us to sleep with wild tales of kittens and bunnies - all spun from her mind on the spot. Have you tried to make up a bedtime story on the spur of the moment? It's harder than you think.

Anyway, the point is I was a reader first but the desire to write followed very closely. I can trace where it came from, who nurtured it. Is every writer like that? Do you know what pushed you to write? Where your desire came from? Tell me, I'd love to hear it.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Book Four

I have finally started book four. I mean it this time. Even though I had previously started writing a fourth book twice before, this one is the one I'm actually going to write. I just wasn't excited about those other books - well, I was, but not like this one.

It's another contemporary paranormal but completely different from anything I've written before. And I think it's going to be fun!

So far, my working title is Date With The Devil but I'm pretty sure that's going to change. Something better is bound to reveal itself as the book comes along. How many title changes do you go through? Or do you just pick any old title knowing it'll probably get changed by an editor at some point anyway?

Monday, March 27, 2006

Agent Chat Tonight

Agent Vivian Beck will be chatting live in the Romance Divas chatroom this evening at 9pm EST. You don't want to miss this!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Thank You

To all those who took the time to wish me well and offer condolences, thank you. Really and truly. I may not have finaled but I'm a winner when it comes to having friends in this business. You're a marvelous bunch!

Now it's time to move on and get writing. After all, I want something new to pitch in Atlanta. Anybody want to join me in a writing challenge for April? Number of pages or words, doesn't matter - you set the goal and we'll check in here once a week to see how it's going?

Let's get writing!

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Results Are In

I didn't final in the Golden Heart this year. I felt very strongly that I would considering that between them, the two manuscripts I entered have: been requested in full by three publishers, been requested in full by two agents, been requested as a partial by one agent, finaled in another RWA contest.

Plus, the manuscript that finaled last year was a piece of crap compared to these two. There's no understanding it I guess. I'm bummed, I won't lie to you. It hurts because I felt so good about these two.

Onward and upward, but first some chocolate. Then I plan to sell and make myself ineligible for this contest next year.

Congrats to Candy Havens for her double RITA nomination!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Writer In Limbo

I have a million ideas for books. But I'm not writing.

Right now I'm waiting for responses on fulls from several editors and several agents. That waiting has put me in an odd mood. I'm okay with the waiting, but it's left me feeling directionless. There are sequels to write but I won't write them until I know the first book is going somewhere. Of course, I should start something new - and have - twice. But it sits there on the page, dull as dry pasta. The words don't excite me. Sure, I visual scenes in each book (there are no less than five ideas whirling in my head right now, waiting to be written. Eight if I allow myself to think about writing another fantasy romance.)

In case you don't know me that well, let me tell you that finishing isn't a task for me. I've written three full-length manuscripts and numerous short stories and articles. I just don't seem to have the impetus in me at the moment to get going again.

Lara Santiago thinks I need to stop being so hard on myself, allow myself a break and then regroup on Monday. It's probably what I'll do. I have Daphne entries to judge and a book to finish reading for my romance reader's group.

Has this *funk* ever happened to you? If so, what's your advice? How did you get out of it?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Body Count

Yesterday's post got me thinking about death. (And isn't that a fun subject?) Death makes for interesting happenings when you're writing fiction. Who dies, how they die, how the death impacts the other characters and the story line in general are all points to consider.

I don't write romantic suspense but the occasional death creeps in anyway. I don't think for one moment that romantic suspense is the only genre with a license to kill. Death makes for good storytelling. Parents pass away. Spouses die. Enemies get whacked. Anything we can do to put our characters through hard times makes for great reading.

What do you write and who dies in your stories?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Shine On

LifeGem is company that will take your loved one's ashes (or your pet's) and turn them into a created diamond. I'm serious.

Depending on the color (blue or yellow), the cost ranges from $2700 to $20,000.

My question: Would you? What do you think of it? Is it romantic or just weird?

Five Days and Counting

This year's Golden Heart calls go out on Friday, March 24th. It's a bit nerve wracking. I'd love to final again and I feel like the two manuscripts I entered are much stronger than the one that finaled last year but you just never know.

Time goes by much faster if you try to forget you're waiting on something, don't you think? I've been reading a lot. Watching movies. Thinking about book ideas. Writing a little (I wish I could say I'm writing a lot but my current idea feels unsettled and I'm just not in love with it yet.)

What are you waiting on and how do you pass the time?

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Breaking Industry News

Literary agent, Elaine English, has left the literary agency of Graybill & English and set up her own company. She can now be reached at Elaine English Literary, 4710 41st Street, NW, Suite D, Washington, DC 20016.Telephone: (202) 362-5190.

This is not a post

I'm not blogging today and nothing you say can make me.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Keeper Books

Ronda Thompson's Wulf series is amazing.

This historical werewolf series started with The Dark One, which came out last November. It came to me as an ARC for review from St. Martin's. I couldn't put it down. It was so riveting, the characters, the story line, the writing style - everything about it sucked me in and held me until the story was done. In my review for Romance Divas, I gave it 5 kisses, a rating I rarely give out.

This Saturday, two wonderful things happened. 1.) The ARC for The Untamed One showed up (actual release is May) and 2.) I found a large blurb from my review for The Dark One on the inside front page! I was thrilled. I started reading immediately.

This second book did not disappoint. In my opinion, it may even be better than its predecessor. At the very least, it is equal. I haven't written the review yet but when I do, The Untamed One will also be getting 5 kisses.

Ronda's writing is lush and evocative. Her characters leap off the page. These books are keepers, books I will read again. If you haven't read them yet, you need to. They are phenomenal!

The last book in the series, The Cursed One, comes out in December this year. I CANNOT WAIT!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Blog Round Up

Siren Superstar Lara Santiago has a blog! Go check it out to find out why you won't want her riding in your car or playing with your pens.

Romance Divas contest coordinator and columnist Gina Welborn asks an interesting question on her blog. Which kind of writer are you?

Lastly, superagent Deidre Knight is doing Q & A on her agency blog again. Now is a great time to get a question answered!

Monday, March 13, 2006

As Promised!

Not the best shot, I admit but I would have had to walk through a neighbor's backyard to get closer. I'll see if I can do better in the next few days. And his name? Well, it was a tough call but I think I'm going with Boris. :o)

Pictures & Names

A picture or two of the gator along with the name I've chosen will be posted here later this afternoon. You'll just have to wait until I get back from aerobics!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Reptile, anyone?

There's a small gator (four to five feet) that's taken up residence in one of the large ponds fronting the community I live in. I see him almost everyday. Would anyone be interested in seeing a picture of this lovely creature? If I get enough positive responses, I'll take my camera and go on a hunting expedition with promises to post the resulting photos here. (He's quite handsome. I could sit and watch him for hours.)

Also, I'm trying to think up an appropriate name for him. I originally thought he was a she and had decided on Evangeline but now I'm thinking the gator is a boy. He looks lonely. Anyway, my brother had a Caiman croc as a pet once - his name was Fester. I always thought that was a brilliant moniker for such a wicked creature.

So do you want pics? Thoughts on a name? What say you, people?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Upcoming Events

Here are some of the events scheduled for the next few weeks at Romance Divas. As always, all events are free to registered members. And of course, registration is free too!

Agent Chat: Vivian Beck, Vivian Beck Agency, March 27th at 9pm
Editor Q&A: Dave King, editor and author - Self-Editing For Fiction Writers, April 3rd to April 9th (in forum)
Agent Chat: Jenny Bent, Trident Media, April 6th at 7pm

Don't you think it's time you became a Diva?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Happy Wednesday!

I don't think words are really necessary, do you?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Female Mind

So Lara Santiago and I are in aerobics the other day, sweating our not yet small behinds off, when the subject of Vin Diesel comes up. Maybe it was the sweating, I don't know. After that, I had a hard time concentrating on the steps and ended up doing my own thing a few times. What can I say? The man distracts me.

I did end up with an interesting idea for a book, though. Weird where ideas come from, isn't it? My third book was entirely inspired by a random snippet of a dream about Bobby Flay. My second book from a piece of artwork.

Where have your ideas come from? What's the strangest inspiration you've had?

Monday, March 06, 2006

One Down, One To Go

Revisions on The Perfect Dish are done and the manuscript and synopsis are out the door! Getting that done is a great feeling. During the editing process, I fell in love with the book and the characters all over again. Actually laughed out loud a few times reading my own stuff. (Is that weird or am I weird?)

A friend of mine, Lara Santiago, acted as a beta reader for me on my second book, Out Of The Ashes. No one has ever read that book from "cover to cover" so it was an interesting experience for me, a little frightening, a little scary. She writes erotica and the sex in my books is either behind closed doors or non-existant (I guess I write sweet pararnormals - is there such a thing?), so I was worried that she'd find the book lacking because of that. But she said she didn't miss it and the sexual tension was definitely there. She really seemed to like it, said she laughed out loud a few times, found a few spots that needed a line or two changed, some places it could be tightened - good stuff! Now I just have to finish those revisions and get that sucker mailed off to Berkley.

So here's my question - do you normally have someone who reads your work through once it's done or do you do that yourself and hope for the best? What's your process once you've completed a book?

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Goals and Discipline

Most of us, as writers, set goals for ourselves. Daily word counts. Weekly page counts. Chapters written. Chapters revised. Queries sent. Contests entered. You know the drill. They differ for each of us but the end result is the same. Productivity. If we're unpublished, the push is toward publication. If we're published, we strive to meet deadlines and do promotion.

Meeting these goals takes discipline. And that's where the effort comes in. There is always something else you can do besides write. Gluing my butt in my office chair takes effort, I'll admit it. But as I said to a friend the other day, I try to live my "writer's life" as though I am already published so that when that day comes, I'll be ready.

How do you stay on track? What's your biggest time waster? Have you reached any of your goals for this year yet?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Breaking News!

This just in:

Out Of The Ashes (my second book, a contemporary paranormal) is a finalist in the Linda Howard Award of Excellence!

Yesterday Was A Big Day!

What a day yesterday turned out to be!

My friend Eden Bradley sold in an auction to Bantam Dell for a two book deal, my friend Jax sold to Amber Quill by winning their Heat Wave contest, another friend, Babe, sold to By Grace Publishing!

Me? Well, no sale but I did get a request from Berkley for a full on my second book.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Get It While It's Hot!

Want a free book? Or at least a teaser? My friend, Lara Santiago, has a free download starting today at Siren Publishing. Her book, The Blonde Bomb Tech, is being serialized and to get you started, the first two chapters are FREE!

Click here.